It’s a dark and stormy night at Pendarvis Farm and Typhoon is fully immersed in the recording of their new album. After listening to a sample of what is yet to come (which sounds fantastic, by the way), I sat down with a handful of them (Kyle, Dave, Toby, Pieter, Nora, and Shannon. The others were scattered across the Northwest map) in their open barn kitchen, complete with sounds of crickets and frogs and other farm ambiance, and talked about everything from the new album, farm life, cannibalism, and Goldblums over some tasty Ninkasi Total Domination IPA.
Dave: We had eight kegs of beer donated to us and we’re already on the last one. If we were wrapping up today, like we were supposed to, it would have been the perfect amount of beer.
Then Kyle informs everyone that Shannon can’t make it because her car has just been stolen…
RCR: How is recording coming along?
Kyle: It’s been kind of a daunting project because most of the album wasn’t written when we got here. The main challenge is finding a way to structure it, because there are all these songs and a lot of them weren’t finished. It’s been really good. I feel like I’m casting it in sort of a funny light, but to me this is the initiation phase of the record.
At this point, Shannon walks in out of the darkness.
Shannon: You guys are not going to believe what happened.
Toby: Oh wait did you just come back with your car?!
Shannon: Yeah! It was parked a block away, locked with nothing taken! It’s so weird I don’t understand!
Kyle: Somebody must’ve hot wired it.
Shannon: I have no idea how they took my car and moved it. I’m absolutely sure I didn’t park it in a different spot because I always used to park my car in front of my dad’s house with the sewer grate in my old car, and I remembered how it felt going in that parking spot and I was like “I haven’t felt this in a while, what the fuck?” and then it was in a totally different spot!
Kyle: And you heard your car alarm?
Shannon: And I heard my car alarm!
Dave: Well how’d you find it?
Shannon: I called the cops and the cops knocked on the door like “Sooo it’s a block away” and I was like “No, no it’s not, it has to be a different car. You have to show me.”
RCR: That’s good news.
Dave: So recording is going even better now that another car hasn’t been stolen from a member of Typhoon.
RCR: Who was the other one?
Pieter: Just Devin, now. I mean I guess Shannon got her car stolen for a block.
Kyle: Maybe they just did that so you’d appreciate having your car back.
Dave: Maybe it’s ‘cause you watched The Ring last night.
Kyle: Anyway, Cody, this is horribly off track. Let’s start over! Recording’s going great. We’re living on a farm. We’ve been here a month. It’s ideal. I’ve learned how to make a record, and also I’ve learned about myself that this is the life for me, that I was born into the wrong kind of culture, and that I belong on a farm…a farm where there’s no work to be done.
Dave: It’s nice that the only obligation is to play music all day.
Kyle: We’re farming a record.
RCR: What’s new about this album that’s different from the last?
Kyle: I mean for me, it’s a constant refining of a single idea which is saying things truthfully and clearly, and I hope I’m getting closer on this one, it’s hard to say. But being here to write it, being here on the farm and the things that have led up to it have all been pointing in the direction that this was supposed to happen, in a way.
Dave: We’ve also never had a five month lead time.
Pieter: Well back in the day, man, you just…did it…
Shannon: “Back in the daaay, man.”
Dave: Way back in ol’ 2006.
RCR: I remember your first release where it was just the cardboard package with the “Typhoon” stamp on it and you just sold it yourselves at shows.
Kyle: Yeah, that was easy. That was fun.
Pieter: It’s just funny how much more complicated that can get. And I understand why that is, and I’m totally fine with that. But it’s amazing that it’s as simple as mass producing an audio file for lots of people.
Kyle: Most of that five month period actually press, publicity, like a pregnancy.
RCR: A gestation period?
Kyle: Yeah, a gestation period. A “timing of hype”, and it’s stuff that I leave to the so called experts. Steven’s good, I like Steven (Trachtenbroit, the band’s publicist). I just like Steven personally, so I don’t say that too tongue-in-cheek, but it’s good to have a certain amount of cynicism towards all that.
RCR: Cool. How has the experience of being out here influenced you, if at all?
Toby: Being away from everything else. It’s kind of like a retreat from the city. Usually we would be working jobs and then going to Kyle’s house to record and then leaving and going about your daily life, but here this is all it is
Kyle: We’ve slowed down and time just keeps going for everyone else.
Pieter: I feel like everyone back at home is like “It feels like you’ve been gone longer” and you’re like “Woah I haven’t actually left the property in four days.” It’s really been nice even if you’re not actively involved, you can lay down on the bed in the barn while things are going on
Kyle: Yeah a lot of people have been sleeping on the record.
Pieter: Even just being in there while parts are being done helps you work better when it’s time for you to do stuff. Especially with Paul (Laxer, their engineer/producer).
RCR: How did you meet up with Paul?
Kyle: It’s serendipitous, he met Tyler at a going away party for one of our friends and Tyler gave him a track of ours to mix. And the track wasn’t very good and, to be honest, his mix of it wasn’t very good, so I don’t know. That’s how we met. Then he came to one of our shows and said “Oh, I get it! I want to record your record.” And I said “Okay.”
RCR: Has anything ridiculous or cool happened while you’ve been out here? Wild animal encounters or anything like that?
Kyle: Oh! A hawk carrying a snake in the air above us was cool!
Dave: It landed on a cactus for a little bit…backgrounded by white, red, and green. It was on May 5th when that happened too.
Kyle: Viva Mexico.
Shannon: The super moon was cool!
Toby: Yeah there’s like 80 acres behind us of just trails and, during the super moon, it was so lit up that we all took a hike around and we didn’t even need flashlights.
RCR: Okay, so, if all of you were out in the wilderness and there’s no food, who do you eat first?
Shannon: Oh my God. I’ve never gotten this question with you guys before.
Kyle: We would eat you, Cody.
RCR: I’m not there!
Pieter: My response to that question is that I would find a way to not have to eat anyone.
Dave: That’s not part of the question though.
Kyle: But we have so many vegetarians.
Pieter: Let’s all eat a little bit of each other!
Dave: Yeah, we just take pieces off each other then no one would have to die. It would just be a buffet.
Kyle: To get any kind of meat you gotta get muscle…I guess off the butt.
Pieter: A little bit of butt.
Toby: Aww God, Nooo!
Dave: Think of how long we can live off 24 butt cheeks! It’ll be kind of like a white elephant thing. You won’t know whose butt cheek you got.
Pieter: WHAT IF YOU GOT YOUR OWN?! We’d have to figure out some crazy way to make it so that you couldn’t get your own.
Shannon: Wait, how would you even do that? Do you just put them all in a hat?
Kyle: That’s like a higher level of cannibalism, if you eat yourself.
Dave: Yeah, Pieter’s butt is alright, but my butt? It’s everything I love in a butt.
RCR: How did you all meet?
Dave: Or Hello Cupid. Hello Cupid?
Shannon: OK Cupid.
Dave: Hello Kitty.
Kyle: It was a Hello Kitty convention. And I said “Dave, it’s Dave right? That’s what your name tag says. That is a great Hello Kitty shirt.”
Toby: It’s a long story. We grew up in the music scene in Salem, then moved to Portland, and then we met people and made some friends. We’ve been very very lucky about who we’ve brought into the family.
RCR: I know a few of you are from Salem, and it’s a place where there’s a certain number of people who are trying to make it cool or relevant, but then there’s the other side that’s trying to shut it down and keep it quiet. So how do you feel about Salem now?
Toby: I like how there’s people who are like that. People who stay in Salem or have moved back there just because they want to see Salem thrive. And it’s nice because those are the kinds of people that I respect.
Pieter: It’s important for towns to have people like that in them. It helps people who aren’t otherwise exposed to…something other than general suburbia find something different to do.
Kyle: Well to play devil’s advocate: What is there to do in Portland? I mean I’m finding that I’d rather be out here. There’s more places to bike to, there’s a lot of beautiful things to see, but Salem has that too. It’s just that there’s a lot of young people in Portland and like attracts like, so you have this sort of humming vibrant city, but at the heart of it there’s nothing more to do.
Toby: Well it depends on what you want to do…
Kyle: …What do you want to do?
Toby: I’m just saying! Portland’s a great city for artists and young business men, and it’s kind of a Mecca for creativity.
Pieter: I just remembered that Saturday Night Live we watched last night (1/16/1999) where Colin Quinn on the Weekend Update was like “Amtrak announced they’re building a new rail line from Eugene to Seattle, and as a result, the population of Eugene is expected to be zero.”
RCR: Eugene gets shit on pretty hard. There was that episode of Futurama when they go to that huge bum base and Bender says “I’ve seen bigger. Oh wait, I’m thinking of Eugene Oregon.”
One last thing: So a friend of mine has this thing for Jeff Goldblum. He’s not necessarily his favorite actor, but he feels sort of a spiritual connection to him for his oddball ways. So we’re trying to find out who everyone’s “Goldblum” is.
Kyle: He’s like a Crispin Glover.
RCR: Exactly! Like you watch a Crispin Glover movie and you don’t think he’s the best but you really like him. Mine is Christopher Lambert, the guy from Highlander and Mortal Kombat.
Kyle: Mine would be Christopher Walken, for the record.
Toby: He’s pretty big though.
Dave: See I think Crispin Glover is a really good one. What about Gary Busey or something? I’ll say Gary Busey.
RCR: Yeah! There you go. It doesn’t have anything to do with fame, it has more to do with the quality of acting.
Kyle: Kind of like a wild card. Like David Duchovny.
Dave: See, when you first brought this up I was thinking of David Duchovny!
Pieter: I have a hard time putting names to faces as far as all these actors go. Like I have to feign that I know about some actor’s name sometimes when people tell me about them.
Kyle: Hang on, Pieter, I’ll get one for you…Oh! Billy Zane.
Pieter: I DON’T KNOW WHO THAT IS!
Dave: What about Gary Sinise? I’ve got a lot of Garys.
Pieter: Can I have Sinise? I know who that is.
Toby: I was going to say Steve Buscemi, but he might be too respected.
RCR: He’s close, but a little too quirky.
Dave: Way too quirky.
Kyle: I don’t understand the parameters, but it’s really like a feel. There’s a feel to it.
Dave: Yeah, so you can definitely be wrong about this. See I get this game.
Kyle: Bill Pullman!
Dave: Ed Harris!
Toby: What about Woody Harrelson? Does that count? Are there more women that could be a Goldblum?
Dave: I was thinking Sigourney Weaver.
Shannon: I was originally going to say Winona Ryder, but…Is Christian Slater good? I don’t get the criteria. I just don’t really understand. I think Winona Ryder might have too much cred though.
RCR: Yeah, all of those are perfect.
Kyle: …Rosie Perez!
RCR: Ooooh shit that’s a good one. The rules are kind of vague, but Dave and Kyle seem to get them perfectly.
Dave: Yeah yeah, I get it. I like this game, Cody.
Typhoon’s new album isn’t expected to be out until January, so in the mean time, check them out on Facebook and be sure to follow them on Twitter. Also purchase previous releases and merch at the store on their website.